|One solution to the drought: Succulents!|
Before the governor instituted the recent mandatory order to reduce water usage, many Santa Barbarians turned a blind eye to damage the drought was causing. While many residents and businesses have used native landscaping for years, there are also still plenty of lush, green lawns.
On my walk, I saw lots of green lawns. But I also saw brown lawns. And I saw lawns in the process of being torn up.
I saw well-established native and drought-tolerant landscaping and lots of new plantings of drought-tolerant plants.
I saw gravel, stone pavers, and decomposed granite. And I saw the most extreme solution for lawn replacement: Two houses in a row with artificial turf. It looks pretty good unless you really stare at it!
There are many, many ways to achieve the goal of drought-tolerant yards in Santa Barbara. Some people still have "lawns" of native ground cover. Some people have bark-lined paths among profusely wild native plants. Some people are going with stone and granite, and using plants as accents.
For speakers, there are also many, many ways to achieve your goal of engaging an audience. Determine what works for you, what fits your communication style and personality, and go from there.
Don't like the idea of standing in front of the room and talking for an hour straight? Great! Give your audience lots of activities to do in pairs and groups and get them to report back their results and solutions.
Love the sound of your own voice? (Come on, you know you do...) Great! Tell stories that illustrate your points so that your audience can apply your concepts to real-life situations.
Have you always been the class clown? Great! Use humor - either self-deprecating humor to tell your own stories, or humorous stories and jokes that are relevant to your points. People LOVE to laugh.
Are you more of an emotional, sensitive listener? Great! Ask a lot of questions and listen to your audiences' stories to help them discover how their experiences tie into your main points.
Are you artistic and creative? Great! What images and props can you use to help your audience internalize your ideas?
Are you intense? Feisty? Sarcastic? Warm-hearted? Goofy (raising my hand...)? Blunt? Outspoken? Generous? Soft-spoken?
Great! There is always a way to engage your audience that will fit with your style and your personality. And yes, you can combine audience engagement techniques - in fact, it's better if you do. But you don't have to do everything.
Just don't do nothing.
Doing "nothing" in California has led us to the place we are today, with our state having to take drastic measures to reduce water use.
Doing "nothing" to engage your audience will lead you to a drought of attention, interest and connection!